Purpose: A method has been proposed to calculate ventilation maps from four-dimensional computed tomography (4DCT) images. Weekly 4DCT data were acquired throughout the course of radiation therapy for patients with lung cancer. The purpose of our work was to use ventilation maps calculated from weekly 4DCT data to study how ventilation changed throughout radiation therapy. Methods: Quantitative maps representing ventilation were generated for six patients. Deformable registration was used to link corresponding lung volume elements between the inhale and exhale phases of the 4DCT dataset. Following spatial registration, corresponding Hounsfield units were input into a density-change-based model for quantifying the local ventilation. The ventilation data for all weeks were registered to the pretreatment ventilation image set. We quantitatively analyzed the data by defining regions of interest (ROIs) according to dose (V 20) and lung lobe and by tracking the weekly ventilation of each ROI throughout treatment. The slope of the linear fit to the weekly ventilation data was used to evaluate the change in ventilation throughout treatment. A positive slope indicated an increase in ventilation, a negative slope indicated a decrease in ventilation, and a slope of 0 indicated no change. The dose ROI ventilation and slope data were used to study how ventilation changed throughout treatment as a function of dose. The lung lobe ROI ventilation data were used to study the impact of the presence of tumor on pretreatment ventilation. In addition, the lobe ROI data were used to study the impact of tumor reduction on ventilation change throughout treatment. Results: Using the dose ROI data, we found that three patients had an increase in weekly ventilation as a function of dose (slopes of 1.1, 1.4, and 1.5) and three patients had no change or a slight decrease in ventilation as a function of dose (slopes of 0.3, -0.6, -0.5). Visually, pretreatment ventilation appeared to be lower in the lobes that contained tumor. Pretreatment ventilation was 39 for lobes that contained tumor and 54 for lobes that did not contain tumor. The difference in ventilation between the two groups was statistically significant (p = 0.017). When the weekly lobe ventilation data were qualitatively observed, two distinct patterns emerged. When the tumor volume in a lobe was reduced, ventilation increased in the lobe. When the tumor volume was not reduced, the ventilation distribution did not change. The average slope of the group of lobes that contained tumors that shrank was 1.18, while the average slope of the group that did not contain tumors (or contained tumors that did not shrink) was -0.32. The slopes for the two groups were significantly different (p 0.014). Conclusions: We did not find a consistent pattern of ventilation change as a function of radiation dose. Pretreatment ventilation was significantly lower for lobes that contained tumor, due to occlusion of the central airway. The weekly lobe ventilation data indicated that when tumor volume shrinks, ventilation increases, and when the thoracic anatomy is not visibly changed, ventilation is likely to remain unchanged.
- deformable image registration
- lung cancer
- lung function
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging